Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

It's pumpkin season! I don't know much to do with pumpkins besides making them into a pie. I got these beautiful pumpkins from my CSA share from Upper Meadows Farm. They told me two pumpkins make one pie. So I went ahead and stripped them down into pie form. First, cut these in half. You'll need a lot of muscle for this. Pumpkins are very dense so they're very difficult to slice. A strong arm and a sharp nice are a must. Inside, you'll find lots of pulp and seeds. Scoop these out. You can clean off the seeds to roast with salt for a treat. Make sure to scrap any of that stringy stuff off the side of the pumpkin. That pulp doesn't translate well into a pie. Once your pumpkin is cleaned, cut it in half again so a whole pumpkin is quartered. Add some salt and oil then into an oven at 375 degrees for about 1 hour until it's fork tender. While that's roasted, make your pie dough. I use the same recipe for every pie that I make. It works well for any pie really so why stray from a good recipe. I used a half recipe here because it's only the bottom half type of pie. I rolled out the ball of dough and inverted it onto a pie plate. I trimmed the edges and tucked any extra under. Then I decoratively crimped the edges. The pumpkin should be done my now. The pulp should be nice and soft. You know it's ready when it comes out really easily from it's skin with just using a spoon. Let cool. While the pumpkin is cooling, bright your other pie ingredients together. Here, I have mixed, heavy cream, milk, eggs, light brown sugar, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice). Once the pumpkin cooked, place into a food processor and puree until smooth. If the pumpkin looks a little dry and difficult to puree, add some of the cream mixture. I discovered now that 1 pumpkin makes about 2 cups of pumpkin puree which is enough to make 1 pie. So the person at the farm was wrong! That's okay though because pumpkin freezes very well. In the ice box for another day. The puree is added to the cream mixture and blended until well incorporated. It's very important to taste the filling at this point. If it's too sweet, add more pumpkin. Too thick? Add more milk. Quality control is important at this point. It's the last step before baking. Into the pie shell the mixture when and then into an oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes until the pumpkin custard is set but still wiggles in the middle. The crust should also be a golden brown. A beautiful pie! It came out perfectly and the house smelled of the holidays. Let this cool completely before slicing. It cannot be warm to the touch. It must rest for everything to set correctly. If you like warm pie to eat, you have to let it cool completely and then heat it up again. The pie is spiced just right. It's slightly sweet with a kick. The pumpkin itself wasn't pureed until perfectly smooth. But I kind of like the rustic feel of little bits of pumpkin in each bite. It's kind of a clue that it's homemade. Not too bad on my first try. Upper Meadows Farm 12 Pollara Lane Montague, NJ 07827 (973) 293-8171

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